July 29, 2013

Lighting: Safety and Savings for Manufactured Communities

Recent technological advances have created a unique opportunity for manufactured communities to realize significant monthly savings while still providing safe, comfortable public areas. According to Pat Flynn of Propel Insurance, careful consideration of lighting needs is important when implementing these improvements

Newer CFL and LED light sources combine greatly reduced energy consumption with extremely long life cycles, offsetting the increased primary expense by lowering both utility and maintenance costs.  Historically, these have offered lower light output, but as the technology improves, they are becoming viable in a growing number of applications.

All common areas must be adequately lit to provide safety from accidents and to deter malicious intent such as vandalism or burglary.  High traffic areas such as parking lots, walkways, and garbage collection locations must still utilize high output fixtures, but can realize significant savings with daylight sensors, as opposed to timer-controlled solutions.

Additional savings can be obtained by installing infrared or ultrasonic occupancy sensors.  These are appropriate for common areas such as restrooms, laundry rooms, fitness centers or recreation rooms and can trim 25 to 75 percent of energy use.  Be sure to utilize licensed, bonded professionals for these upgrades to insure proper installation and calibration of the sensors.  A licensed contractor can also provide an insurance certificate from his or her own liability carrier, naming your property as an additional insured, and transferring the risk associated with their work and equipment.  Contact Propelfor a sample draft of a letter requesting such a certificate.

Many state and local governments are offering incentive programs for the installation and utilization of newer energy efficient technologies, so Flynn recommends checking with local utility providers for opportunities to further defray capital expenditures. He also notes, “Regardless of your lighting technology, routine, documented inspections and prompt correction of any problem remain your best defenses against personal injury claims you might face.”